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Coffee in India

There goes a legend, that the first coffee beans made their way into India through a travelling Muslim cleric called Baba Budan, in the 16th century. He carried seven seeds in a little pouch on the long journey back, after a pilgrimage to Yemen. The seeds were then planted on the Giri mountains in Chikmagalur district, now known as the Baba Budan Giri mountains, which are part of the Western Ghats.

The colonial enterprise of the British popularized coffee plantations as a viable economic industry in the late 1820s. In 1826, there were only seven British coffee planters in the erstwhile Mysore State. By 1856, that number had increased to 662 plantation owners, who actually managed 8094 hectares of the total cultivated area of 58690 hectares.

In the early years, Coffee was largely planted in the hilly tracts of the Western Ghats. Today, these are still the traditional coffee growing areas, with certain tracts identified as exclusive zones, producing coffee of exceptional quality. Today, Indian coffee growers have made a mark on the international map of coffee.

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